Airedale Terrier Puppy Facts

Did you just bring home a new Airedale Terrier puppy and want to learn more about the breed?

Maybe you are thinking about buying a puppy and want to know if this is the right breed of dog for you and your family?

No matter what your situation may be, you will find the answers to your questions right here!



Breed History

This is a relatively young breed. Also known as the Waterside Terrier, the Bingley Terrier, or simply as the King of Terriers, the Airedale Terrier originated in the second half of the 19th century in England.

The name "Airedale" was created from the area that is considered as the birthplace of the breed -- a valley ("dale" in Old English) between Aire and Wharfe Rivers.

The breed was created by the Yorkshire men by crossing the now extinct Black and Tan terrier with the Otterhound. These dogs were used to hunt down large rats that occupied the banks of the Aire River.

The breed gained a lot of recognition in World War I when it was used as a messenger dog. Airedale Terriers were renowned for their ability to deliver messages behind enemy lines despite devastating and sometimes fatal injuries. They were also used by the Red Cross to search for wounded soldiers.

Following the war, breed's popularity continued to grow due to its courage and intelligence. Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, and Warren Harding each owned an Airedale Terrier.

The Airedale was one of the first breeds used for police duty in Germany and Great Britain. It has also been used to hunt big game in Africa and India.

Today the breed is used mostly for companionship but some working Airedale Terrier lines are used for police and military duty, search and rescue, guarding, hunting, tracking, and rodent control.

The Airdale Terrier was one of the breeds used to develop the Black Russian Terrier.

The breed was introduced to North America in 1880s and recognized by AKC in 1888.

Physical Characteristics of Airedale Terrier Puppies

The Airedale is the largest of the terriers (while the Black Russian Terrier is bigger, the AKC considers it as member of the Working Group and not the Terrier Group).

It has a sturdy, well muscled body with long and sloping shoulders, well sprung ribs, and moderate length neck. The front legs are perfectly straight while the back legs are strong and muscular. The tail is set high on the back. It's often ducked but this is not a requirement.

The head is long and flat with deep and powerful forehead, small V-shaped ears, small, dark and intelligent eyes, and medium-size black nose.

The coat consists of hard and dense straight outer coat covering the dog well over the body and legs, and a soft undercoat. Airedale ears, legs, head, and underbelly are tan while the back and upper sides are either black or black mixed with gray and white.

    Height Weight
  Male 22 to 24 inches 55 - 70 pounds
  Female 22 to 23 inches 45 - 60 pounds


The Airedale Terrier is an alert, intelligent, loyal, and fun loving dog. It has a strong protective instinct, and, despite being friendly even with strangers, it will make an excellent watchdog. Like most Terriers, it can be independent, strong-minded, and even stubborn.

He likes to show off and demonstrate how smart he is, but he'll do it once, maybe twice!  Their attitude is, "I did it and if you were not paying attention, then that is your problem!" 

While it's good with children, it tends to play rough and is not recommended for small children. The best way in which to introduce Airedale Terriers to children is to do so when they are puppies. With early exposure to children and socialization training, they'll make wonderful pets.

Like all Terriers, the Airedale likes to chase small animals such as squirrels and ferrets. It may get along with a specific cat if they grew up together but there are no guarantees.

They also like to dig, "play" with newspapers and toilet paper, and chew. Visit stop dog from digging and dog chewing to learn how to minimize the damage caused by these behaviors.

The Airedale gets bored when left alone or ignored for prolonged periods of time. Be sure to include him in family activities. He also needs to be kept busy and active to prevent boredom and stay out of trouble.

They are not difficult to train but they require an owner who will be able to assert his or her authority over a strong-minded dog. An Airedale will try to establish his dominance over any family member he sees as submissive.

They do not respond to harsh training methods. Some other things to avoid are repetitiveness and boring training sessions. The best way to train your Airedale is through positive reinforcement, including treats and praise. Be sure to keep training sessions fun and fresh to prevent boredom.

Airedales are notorious for their clever abilities to make things disappear without a hint of guilt. They teach you very quickly to hide anything you don't want to be "borrowed". You better develop the ability to see humor in all situations!

Best Owner / Living Conditions

Because of its high indoor activity level, this breed is not recommended for an apartment lifestyle.

It will do best with an active, patient, and assertive owner living in the suburbs.

Some Airedale Terrier breeders may interview prospective owners to make sure this is the right breed for them.

Activity and Exercise

The Airedale Terrier is a very active breed and needs lots of exercise to stay physically fit and mentally sharp.

It loves to swim, run, and retrieve objects. You may incorporate these activities into an exercise routine. If you have a fenced yard, your pet will get plenty of exercise by running free. If you are into jogging or bicycle riding, you may take an adult Airedale along, but always on a leash.

At a minimum, take your pet for several long walks every day.


The Airedale is an average shedder but requires more grooming than some other breeds. 

Brush several times a week to remove dead hair and undercoat. A haircut or stripping four to five times a year will minimize shedding.  If you plan to cut the hair yourself, always bathe and dry your pet before you begin clipping -- this will protect the blades and make them last longer.

The beard needs to be washed at least once a day to remove food residue.

Health Concerns

Like all dog breeds, Airedale Terriers are susceptible to complications caused by internal and external parasites such as ticks, fleas, and worms.

Other health concerns include hypothyroidism, hip dysplasia, and skin infections. For more information about dog diseases and health, visit dog health problems.

Buy only from reputable Airedale Terrier breeders to reduce the risk of the above and many other health problems (visit dog breeders to learn how to identify responsible dog breeders).

No matter how small the risk of health problems is, any puppy may get sick or injured. Many health problems will require an immediate attention from your Vet, but there are many others that will not, and you may handle them on your own.

To save time and money, learn how to diagnose and treat dog health problems that don't require your Vet's attention.

Life Expectancy

The average life expectancy for Airedale Terrier puppies is between 10 and 12 years.

Did you ever consider adopting your next pet?

If this is the breed you are interested in, and adoption appeals to you, consider contacting your local Airedale Terrier rescue. There are thousands of pets waiting for a loving home and, yes, it's possible to adopt a purebred dog.

Puppy Training

Not happy with your pet's behavior? Need help with training your dog for obedience? Then check this Airedale Terrier Behavior and Obedience Training Guide.

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